Moto G 3rd Gen is probably the most anticipated budget smartphone of 2015 and does it live up to the hype? Can it deliver an excellent smartphone experience even better than its predecessors at a sub $200 price point? Let’s find out in my full review of the new 2015 Motorola Moto G.
So after spending about a week with the new Moto G, here’s what I have to report. Let’s kick things off with design and hardware. After using the past two iterations of the Moto G, I have to say the design, and the build quality on the new G is my favorite by far. Why? Because it feels more premium. Gone is that matte, soft touch finish that attract fingerprints and gets quite disgusting in your sweaty. Instead we have a new textured surface on the back that not only deter fingerprints like a champ, but also provides you with additional grip on the phone for a more secure in hand experience. I also like the new metallic accent on the back that gives the phone a more premium look, more flair without being too flashy. Other than those changes, the new Moto G is about the same as its processor with roughly the same dimensions and weight which is why the new Moto G remains an excellent choice for one hand use. The new Moto G is absolutely a pleasure to use in one hand with its curved design that rests naturally in the palm of your hand especially with the 5-inch form factor. The location of the volume and power buttons are on the same side for even easier handling with one hand. So if you were to ask me the best phone right now for one-handed use? It’s the new Moto G hands down. The left spine of the phone is clean. At the top, you got your 3.5 millimeter headphone jack dead center next to the microphone. MicroUSB port at the bottom for charging and syncing. On the front you got your ear piece, ambient light sensors, and a 5 megapixel front facing camera an upgrade over the last generation’s two megapixels. Towards the bottom, Motorola has retained the tradition of front facing speakers though this year only the bottom one is a speaker, the grill at the top is used only phone calls. But I’ll take a single front facing speaker any day over speakers placed in other positions. Though the only downside is that the recessed speaker tends to accumulate dust over time quite easily. But I think the quality and volume of the speaker is actually pretty good actually . Let’s have a listen. On the back, you get your 13 megapixel camera, an improvement over last year’s 8 megapixels. Under the camera we have a special kind of flash which I’ll go in-depth later. And last but not least, the signature Motorola dimple, an excellent location for resting your index finger. Sure the Moto G isnt’t the most attractive phone on the market, but if you’re able customize the device to your liking, I’m sure you’ll love it. Well, that’s exactly what you can do using Moto Maker, now available on the Moto G, Motorola’s phone customization tool brought over from the Moto X to truly make this phone your own. Which is also why the back cover is removable so you can change the look and feel of your device in mere seconds. Oh by the way I almost forgot to mention the microSIM tray and the microSD card slot allowing upgradable memory for up to 32 Gigs. The new G also comes with IPX7 certification for water resistance because water is your phone’s worst enemy. IPX7-rated protection keeps your phone safe from splashes and accidental drops in water of up to three feet for up to 30 minutes. This is very nifty if you want to give you’re a bath or use your phone in the shower. For those of you that were concerned about Lenovo’s influence over Motorola after the acquisition, you’ll be delighted to hear Lenovo has kept their hands off of Motorola at least in the UI and Motorola is allowed to do what it does best and that is software. The new Moto G runs mostly a stock version of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop and with Motorola’s track record, this device will probably be one of the first devices to receive Android M. Motorola’s also got its own tweaks and value-adds too but they are extremely useful which makes the Moto G a bloatware –free device if there were such a certification making the interface smooth, fast and intuitive to use. Some of my favorite ones include Moto Assist which recognizes if you are at work or at home, and adapts in ways that help you. Like letting only priority calls through while you’re asleep. Or keeping silent and automatically replying to important messages when you’re in meetings. You can even add new places such as “Home”, “Work” or a custom location like “School” and then set preferences that keep the phone quiet—or read your new messages out loud depending on your location. Another one is the Moto Display feature brought over from the X and it gives you a simple, discreet preview of notifications and updates. Just give your phone a nudge to see what’s new, then go right to the related app to handle it immediately or leave it for later. You can even play or pause Music tunes without waking your phone. Built-in Motorola apps not only are always kept up to date through the Play Store, but they’re nifty as well. Motorola’s Help app provides a quick and easy way to get help with a customer service representative through chat or call, Motorola Migrate helps to make the transition smoother by easily transferring your stuff from old device to new device. There’s also a built-in FM radio so you can listen to music for free anytime, anywhere. The bottom line is Motorola’s additions are useful and adds true value to the user experience. As for the display, it is exactly the same panel as last year’s with a 1280×720 resolution with a pixel density of 294 pixels per inch protected by Gorilla Glass 3. Other budget devices like the Alcatel Idol 3 might have a higher resolution display, but I have to say the display on the G is still very good. it has a display that is both vibrant and bright, with accurate colors and good viewing angles. Seeing the device under direct sunlight is also not a problem so the quality of the display makes up for the low resolution. Both cameras of the new Moto G received a boost in resolution. The 13MP sensor on the back iscapable of producing some excellent photos like these when conditions are bright. In darker circumstances, the Moto G is still capable of producing some decent looking shots, thanks to the new Dual Dynamic Correlated Color Temperature (CCT) flash which automatically adjusts to ensure you get natural looking skin tones and consistent vibrant colors. Although in some conditions the pictures do get noisy and ugly, it’s still a sizable upgrade over last year’s 8 megapixel sensor. The camera is also capable of 1080P video recording at 30 frames per second. Without OIS, I think the digital stabilization does a pretty a good of stabilizing the shot. The front facing camera has also been upgraded to 5 megapixels for a better selfie experience. The camera itself is very simple to use but gives you very little control over how you want your shots to look compared to other vendors. You can take shots by tapping anywhere on the screen, A swipe from the left will bring you to a list of settings to things like HDR, Flash, picture and video resolution. Panorama, Burst, and slow motion are available as well. The Moto G’s camera now is even smart enough to recognize QR codes and barcodes and automatically read them, so you don’t need a separate scanning app. cool Moto Actions like twisting your wrist quickly to open the camera is one of my favorite quick launch gestures and it’s reliable too. Though it does accidentally activate the camera from time to time in your pocket. A small boost in the CPU has been added now with a 1.4 GHz Snapdragon 410 quad core processor with an Adreno 306 GPU. This thing flies through pretty much all of my daily tasks that I do on my phone. Watching videos, web browsing, social media, no problem at all. It can also handle some moderate gaming too with a relatively smooth gameplay though you still get the occasional lag here and there. So Motorola has done a nice job in reducing the lag and even after a week of use it’s buttery smooth unlike last year’s Moto G which lags like crazy over time. So I would definitely recommend you spending the extra money and get the model with 2GB of RAM because it really helps with multitasking and performance. Battery is a bit larger on paper with a 2470 mAh battery over last year’s 2390 mAh battery. You’re still gonna get all battery life. I’ve been able to get about 5 hours of screen on time so even with moderate usage, you should still be able to a get through a day just fine. 4G LTE now comes standard on the Moto G so you can experience faster connectivity. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a 4G LTE SIM card on hand but the call quality is excellent with crystal clear voice over AT&T’s network. This phone works on all GSM carriers such as AT&T or T-Mobile. At the end of day, you’re someone looking to buy an affordable smartphone with awesome features, and good performance and a user experience that is second to none, the Moto G should be at the top of your list. If you’re thinking about upgrading to the new Moto G, I think it’s definitely worth the upgrade with the new design and improved performance. The new Moto G is available starting today on Motorola.com in more than 60 countries throughout North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific. In the U.S., the Moto G starts at $179.99 for the basic model with 8GB of storage and 1 gig of RAM. The model with 16GB Of storage and 2GB retails for $219.99. This is gonna be it for this review.